IDF Changes Rules of Engagement Along Syrian Border
The continued spillover of the fighting in Syria into Israel has caused the IDF to change the rules of engagement along the Syrian border.
According to a Channel 2 News report on Friday, the new orders instruct soldiers to respond if fire from Syria is dangerous and persistent.
The report noted that while Israel wants to avoid such confrontation with Syria as much as possible, the main concern is that Islamist elements are contained along the Syrian border.
At the beginning of the week, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz warned that Syria's civil war might soon become "an Israeli matter” if military spillover continues. Gantz made the comments during a visit to the northern border, and Channel 2 News noted that during his visit he could hear cries of "Allahu Akbar" coming from the Syrian side of the border.
There have been several instances over the past few days of the Syrian civil war spilling over into Israel.
On Thursday morning, three mortar shells were fired into Israel, with one of them hitting a neighborhood in the religious Zionist town of Alonei Habashan, which is less than a kilometer from the border. None of the shells exploded.
IDF sappers rushed to the scene to neutralize the shells. No one was injured, and there was no damage.
Also on Thursday, IDF soldiers from the “Oketz” canine unit arrested a 17-year-old Syrian teen after he crossed the Israeli-Syrian border in the southern Golan Heights.
As the unit chased after the teen, one of the unit’s dogs caught him and bit him. A search of the teen revealed that he was not armed. He was taken for questioning by security forces and was then given medical treatment at the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat (Safed).
A military source said that the incident does not appear to be a terrorist act, but rather an attempt to escape the fighting in Syria.
On Wednesday, an IDF position near the border with Syria was hit by stray bullets. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.
The IDF said that the bullets appear to be strays from light weapons used in internal fighting in Syria.
On Monday, an Israeli military jeep was hit by Syrian gunfire on the Golan Heights. IDF soldiers were patrolling near the northern border when they came under gunfire from the Syrian side of the border. No one was hurt.